In a story that largely flew under the radar earlier this month but deserved much more attention than it got, the government had to take immediate action to ensure that tens of thousands of students heading to university and college campuses this fall would be able to pay their tuition:
The recession-fuelled rise in postsecondary enrolment has maxed out the federal student loan program at $15-billion, forcing Ottawa to hastily change the rules to keep the money flowing as classes resume for the fall.
Without the last-minute boost for the cap on total student debt, the federal government estimated, 50,000 students would have been denied about $300-million worth of loans.
Canadian university students are taking on higher debt loads than ever before, more than doubling the amount they borrowed 20 years ago, according to a new report from the Canadian Council on Learning.As the report indicates, these rising debt levels could have major societal and economic repercussions as graduates struggle to get themselves out from under these mountains of debt. Couples will wait longer to have children (and could ultimately have fewer, exacerbating population declines.). They'll put off buying a house longer, which has ripples throughout the economy. They'll rent longer (instead of building home equity) and many graduates are moving back in with their parents. And they'll delay retirement planning and savings, which will have major repercussions down the road, with our public pension system already in need of major reform.
According to the CCL, the average debt for a university graduate more than doubled between 1990 and 2000, rising to $24,706 from $12,271. By 2009, that number had risen to $26,680 for university graduates.